Red carpet, red socks

An article in the Daily Mail, plugging the “Bootight” zoomed me back in time to 1979, when Apocalypse Now was premiering in Leicester Square.

I was wearing a stunning designer suit – £20 from Oxfam in Marylebone High Street, and an exquisite pair of knee-high, maroon leather stilleto-heeled boots that had cost a small fortune from Russell and Bromley. I always buy boots half a size larger than my size 5 foot, and wear socks under them.

On this particular occasion, the socks in question were bright red and fluffy, knee-length. The boots slipped over them perfectly.

The cinema was quite warm, and the film was long. My feet started getting very  hot, so I removed the boots.

When the film ended, my feet were three sizes larger than they had been at the beginning. They would not fit in the boots. No way at all.

Among the throng leaving the cinema was a woman in a stunning designer suit, with an exquisite pair of knee-high maroon leather boots swinging nonchalantly from one hand as she padded along the streets of London in knee-high red fluffy socks.

Bootights – you are over 30 years too late.

Next time: the skirt tucked into the knickers incident. 😉

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Death of a nasty bastid

On this day we celebrate the anniversary of the death in 1794 of that unpleasant man, Maximilien Marie Isidore de Robespierre.

In his quest to form a Utopian society in France he unleashed the full terror of the French Revolution. Fittingly, he met the same end to which he had so enthusiastically and mercilessly condemned so many misfortunates.

This is how Thomas Carlyle reported Robespierre’s personal rendezvous with the guillotine:

“All eyes are on Robespierre’s Tumbril, where he, his jaw bound in dirty linen, with his half-dead Brother, and half-dead Henriot, lie shattered; their ‘seventeen hours’ of agony about to end. The Gendarmes point their swords at him, to shew the people which is he. A woman springs on the Tumbril; clutching the side of it with one hand; waving the other Sibyl-like; and exclaims: ‘The death of thee gladdens my very heart, m’enivre de joie;’ Robespierre opened his eyes; ‘Scelerat, go down to Hell, with the curses of all wives and mothers!’–At the foot of the scaffold, they stretched him on the ground till his turn came. Lifted aloft, his eyes again opened; caught the bloody axe. Samson wrenched the coat off him; wrenched the dirty linen from his jaw: the jaw fell powerless, there burst from him a cry;–hideous to hear and see.”


                                                                                                                         Image: Wikipedia

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Good afternoon

A great afternoon at La Grande Galerie yesterday, when Eileen and Wally celebrated the 3rd anniversay of their gallery opening.

The grey damp weather was successfully held at bay by light, airy marquees, and the event was very well attended.

Eileen and Wally, respectively glamorous and genial, really did put on a splendid show, and spoiled us disgracefully. Cocktails and never-ending trays of really classy and irresistible nibbles served by two very charming and persuasive gentlemen. Bang went the Dukan Diet for the afternoon. We were entertained by a live piano recital and later a lively rock band.

Among several stalls was a local English gentleman selling his artisanal ice-creams. I learned from him that Maggie Thatcher was responsible for making air the main ingredient of English ice-cream, and how Italian ice-cream makers use UHT milk for theirs as against the English who use fresh.

Next to me was a very nice man called Peter Hoskins, with his book “In the Steps of the Black Prince.”  Peter spent five years researching and retracing on foot the “chevauchées” of Edward, the Black Prince during the 100 years war.  The chevauchée was a form of warfare designed to demoralise the entire enemy population by wreaking the destruction of their land and cities, something at which Edward was quite adept. He defeated the French army at the battle of Poitiers, taking the French King John prisoner. Funnily enough, despite the havoc and humiliation Edward brought to the people of France, they don’t appear to bear him any animosity. “Le Prince Noir” is a common name for French hotels, restaurants and bars, one only a couple of kilometres from the battlefield where he captured King John.

I also met Angela Berry, the artist who created the really stylish cover for Peter’s book.

Talking of covers, I am really thrilled by the number of people who have commented on the cover of The Valley of Heaven and Hell. So many compliments. Please take full credit, Fena, for a job very well done. 🙂

Book sales were quite brisk, and one purchaser told me that she’d taken her bicycle from Harrogate down to London for the royal wedding, and been able to watch Kate Middleton leaving her hotel, arriving at the Abbey, and waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, thanks to the cycle-friendly London streets. Whether people buy or not, I always  enjoying talking and listening to them.

Later I took the dogs for their evening walk through the fields. It was a slightly surreal experience, because it felt far more like an early autumn morning than a mid-summer evening. It was pleasantly mild and still, with a hazy sunshine; the ground was damp, steamy and sweet-smelling, and the air was heavy. I noticed some small puffball mushrooms amongst the grass.

A thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable day.

If only the hornets would stop flying down the chimney in the evening and buzzing around me while I’m writing. They are attracted by the light. Each time one starts circling me, I have to get up, switch off the light, switch on the patio light, open the door and wait for the hornet to exit. I don’t know if it’s a different creature each time, or just a very slow learner.



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Fancy meeting Burt Lancaster here!

Burt and his beautiful wife flew into a local airfield last weekend – despite the dire weather. They gave a thrilling display of close contact flying. Burt hasn’t lost any of his looks. A fabulous formation flying team.

Visit their website here:

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About as useful as a chocolate teapot

Today I would like to register my absolute dissatisfaction with shower/bath caps.

Their purpose is meant to be to keep hair dry whilst the wearer showers/bathes.

How are they meant to do that when the elasticky bit is never tight enough to stop the hair falling out from beneath it?

And another thing – the pathetic elastic is so loose that the caps inevitably slip down over your eyes. How big do shower/bath cap manufacturers think a woman’s head is?

Not satisfied with making something utterly useless, they now make them look totally ridiculous, too. Who on earth would wear something like this?